In depth analysis of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Time Travel

First of all: SPOILERS FOR HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD!!!

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You have been warned.

Here goes nothing: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is either bad canon or a good fanfic. Short explanation: I loved the new characters and the development of the old ones, and the dynamics between them, but story-wise is isn’t that good. Lots of tropes and screwing up established lore. Now I could ‘just’ write a review of the book, but I actually feel like going in-depth about the subject that ruined the story most for me: Time travel.

Time travel is tricky. It can be confusing, it has many forms and it’s hard to do it good. Time travel as explained in the 3rth Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban, was done quite well in my opinion. However, now they’ve revisited the subject in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, they didn’t do so well. To explain, I need to visit some other franchises and forms of time travel where it is actually done well.

Prince of Persia: Undoing actions by rewinding
In Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, you are able to rewind time for a bit. Using this mechanic, you can undo a short period of time and start over. You end up in your own body where it was a few minutes ago, not creating any doppelgangers. [Disclaimer: in later PoP games this mechanic gets more complicated and elaborated, but let’s leave it at this for now]

Life is Strange: Creating an alternate universe by rewinding
In Life is Strange, your character has the same kind of ability as you have in Prince of Persia. You have the ability to rewind time for about 5 minutes, placing your ‘mind’ in your body where it was 5 minutes ago (so no doppelgangers), enabling you to make better choices. However, the timeline where you came from keeps existing, so by travelling back in time, you create an alternate universe in which different choices are made. Your body keeps existing in the original timeline too, so you’re actually ‘copying’ your mind and placing it in your body of 5 minutes ago, resulting in 2 you’s in 2 different universes.

Life is Strange, Steins;Gate and the Butterfly Effect: Travelling back and forth in time, memory gap versus memory addition
In both Life is Strange and Steins;Gate, you’re able to change events of the past, resulting in alternate universes where different choices were made. However, right after the changed event, the protagonist fast forwards to the alternate universe version of current time. As a result, the protagonist does not have knowledge of anything that took place between the changed event and the present, resulting in a lot of confusion. In the Butterfly Effect, the protagonist is also able to change events in the past, and travels back to the alternate present right after. However, the protagonist gains added memories of events that took place in that alternate universe. So the protagonist ends up having memories of 2 different lives.

Doctor Who: Staying in the same universe
The Doctor travels back and forth in time. However, changing the past does not result in an alternate universe. In fact, everything he changes in the past has already happened, thereby he is not really able to change the past which would otherwise result in an alternate future (there are exceptions, but this is how it generally goes, Doctor Who is very wibbly-wobbly timey wimey). Example: Let’s say he can’t find his wallet in the morning, but some time later he finds it in a strange place. Later that day he travels 24 hours back in time, and he moves his wallet from the usual place to the strange place. He didn’t actually change anything, because it already happened. Another interesting point is that he does not copy his mind and places it in a former version of himself, but he physically travels back in time. As a result, he disappears in the present time and 2 versions of him exist in the past.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Closing the loop
The mechanics of time travel in HP 3 are very similar to Doctor Who. Initially, Hermione uses the Time Turner to travel back short amounts of time to be able to follow multiple classes at once. She physically travels back in time, so she disappears in the present, resulting in a double Hermione in the past. Because Hermione only travels back a short amount of time, it isn’t necessary to travel back to the present. She just has to wait until her doppelganger travels back like she did, and take her place as soon as the doppelganger disappears (closing the loop). It is important to note that there are no alternate universes created in this case: Hermione is present in all classes at once, she isn’t creating different universes in which she follows different classes in each one. Later in the story, Harry sees his father creating a Patronus, and later he travels to the past, creating a Patronus in sight of Past-Harry, realizing he didn’t see his father but himself. This follows the ‘It has already happened’ logic. Same goes for saving Buckbeak: They didn’t create one universe where he was saved and one where he wasn’t saved: They actually already saved him in the past.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: A hot mess
I’m going to dissect this by pointing out facts that confused me or contradict the logic used in HP 3.

They are able to create an alternate universe
Albus and Scorpius get their hands on a Time Turner. They travel back a huge amount of time, change events, and travel back to the present. But instead of staying in the same timeline like in HP 3, they create an alternative timeline, and travel back to the present of that alternate timeline. This leaves them with a memory gap, similar to the mechanics in Life is Strange and Steins;Gate. There is nothing wrong with this mechanic on its own, but according to the lore that was established in HP 3, they should not be able to create an alternate timeline, but just travel back and forth in the same universe, not being able to really change things because everything has already happened. Granted, in the end the undo their changes and end up in the original timeline, but why does saving Buckbeak not create an alternate timeline, while Expelliarmus-ing Cedric does?

Abandoned universes stop existing
In one of the timelines where they end up, Ron and Hermione sacrifice themselves so that Scorpius is able to travel in time again to set things right. This suggests that when someone travels back in time, the abandoned timeline stops existing. Why would Ron and Hermione sacrifice themselves if their terrible universe would just keep on existing without them? Also,  Albus and Scorpius are physically time travelling (like in Doctor Who and HP3). By that logic, if universes would keep existing when they’re abandoned by the protagonists, they’re creating universes where they have forever disappeared. However, the book actually gives contradicting information, because when Albus and Scorpius have disappeared in the original timeline (travelled back in time), HP and gang keep on searching for them, proving that timelines keep existing after all. Which leaves 2 options: 1) all universes keep existing, resulting in universes where Albus and Scorpius have disappeared forever and Hemione’s and Ron’s sacrifice was in vain. 2) The original timeline keeps existing and newly created alternate timelines stop existing as soon as they’re abandoned.

They don’t follow their own logic
Because they screw up time so much, Albus and Scorpius indirectly kill Harry Potter, resulting in Albus never being born. Albus actually disappears at that point, but Scorpius is still there. However, if Albus was never born, Scorpius would never have any motivation to travel back in time in the first place, so by that logic he should disappear as well, which he doesn’t.

They create doppelgangers but they don’t
Albus and Scorpius physically travel back in time. So their bodies disappear in current time, and by that logic they should create doppelgangers in the past (this literally happens in HP 3). Because they travel back to a time where they haven’t been born yet, this doesn’t apply. But when they travel back to the (alternate) present, their mind is suddenly in the bodies of their alternate selves, in stead of creating a doppelganger, which would make more sense, following previous logic.

In conclusion:
The only way for time travel in HP and the Cursed Child to make sense is to follow these rules:

  • When you travel back in time but don’t travel back, but just wait until the loop is closed, you don’t create an alternate universe (HP 3), however, when you travel back in time, change events, and then fast forward back to the present, you have created an alternate timeline (HP and the Cursed Child). Or creating alternate universes just happens randomly. Or it depends on what you change. Or something.
  • The original timeline keeps existing, newly created alternate timelines stop existing as soon as they’re abandoned. Or you create multiple timelines where you have disappeared forever.
  • Preventing your own birth causes you to disappear, preventing events that caused you to time travel in the first place changes nothing. Because.
  • Travelling back to a time where you already exist creates a doppelganger, travelling to an alternate universe where you already exist doesn’t, your mind is transferred to the alternate you, leaving no memories of events in the alternate timeline prior to your transfer.

As you can see these rules are convoluted and obviously created in hindsight. Time travel logic in HP 3 was great: simple, clear rules, no exceptions. These new rules contradict everything established in HP 3, which is a real shame. Now I know it’s a play and it’s meant to be seen, not read. But J.K. said this is canon. So I really think it’s too bad that they’ve screwed up the otherwise great time-travel mechanics.

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Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, a book review.

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. Sometimes life can be very strange. A while back I bought the book Hex, written by Dutch writer Thomas Olde Heuvelt. I was drawn to it by the fact that it was being promoted as the new Dutch fantasy novel.

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For some reason I put it in my bookcase and forgot about it (sorry Thomas).

Earlier this year whilst I was attending Dutch Comic Con, Thomas was there, signing books. I felt a small pang of shame as I remembered that unread book, still in my bookcase, and bummed I didn’t have it with me to get it signed.

Still, I again forgot about it, until two days ago. One of my friends posted a screenshot of the tweet made by Stephen King, the master of horror himself, praising Thomas his book. How epic and cool is that! So I liked that post and yesterday I got a friend request from Thomas himself.

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Maybe this was the universe telling me, read the book! Ok, ok. I got my copy, settled on the couch and… read the book in one go.

Now I have read loads of books, the fact that I own over 700 of them is prove as well. And there aren’t many books I read in one sitting, where I am drawn into it, forget the world around me and keep turning page after page, desperately wanting to know what happens next. This book did.

Slight note. As I understand it, the English version is slightly different from the Dutch version. I read the Dutch one, but now I want to get my hands on an English copy as well.

Synopsis according to Goodreads:

Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay ’til death. Whoever settles, never leaves. Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a 17th century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters your homes at will. She stands next to your bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened. The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting, but in so doing send the town spiraling into the dark, medieval practices of the past.

Author info according to Goodreads:

Thomas Olde Heuvelt

  • Born in Nijmegen, Netherlands

 

Dutch novelist THOMAS OLDE HEUVELT (1983) is the author of five novels and many short stories. His work has appeared in many languages, including English, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and French. In 2015, his story The Day the World Turned Upside Down was the first ever translated work to win a Hugo Award. Two more of his stories have been nominated for both Hugo and World Fantasy Awards. In 2016, Olde Heuvelt’s critically acclaimed novel HEX, which became a bestseller in The Netherlands, will be launched around the globe (In the US by MacMillan/Tor and in the UK by Hodder & Stoughton). Warner Bros. is currently developing a TV series based on the book. “HEX is reminiscent of vintage Stephen King, and I can think of no higher praise. Chilli

Dutch novelist THOMAS OLDE HEUVELT (1983) is the author of five novels and many short stories. His work has appeared in many languages, including English, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and French. In 2015, his story The Day the World Turned Upside Down was the first ever translated work to win a Hugo Award. Two more of his stories have been nominated for both Hugo and World Fantasy Awards. In 2016, Olde Heuvelt’s critically acclaimed novel HEX, which became a bestseller in The Netherlands, will be launched around the globe (In the US by MacMillan/Tor and in the UK by Hodder & Stoughton). Warner Bros. is currently developing a TV series based on the book.

I’ll try not to give away too many spoilers.

What I loved about this book, first and foremost is that it is set in the region I originally come from (for the people who read the Dutch version of the book). I was born in a smallish town in ‘Brabant’ although not as small as the town ‘Beek’ mentioned in the book. But how the people and townsfolk act is pretty much how I remember it (minus the horror stuff, but then again, I wouldn’t be surprised). It has nothing compared to living in a larger city where you are lucky if your neighbours greet you at all.

Not until the second chapter you finally begin to get a grasp what the story is about, and throughout the book you begin to grasp the situation about Hex. I imagine when reading the book for a second time you will get a lot of aha moments, small little signs you missed the first time because know you know.

It is amazing how Thomas managed to capture todays life, with texting, popular language and big brother is watching you and at the same time describes that small town feel and throw you back into the middle ages as well.

Some of the horror stuff, nope no spoilers, you should really read the book yourself, reminded me a lot of the books written by Bridget Wood and which I think is high praise. Thomas has captured multiple important ethical dilemmas while being subjected to years and years of indoctrination and pear pressure in such a way that it’s almost scary, even if applied to today’s everyday life and how we as people react to say the refugees’ crisis.

If you are susceptible to nightmares I suggest reading this book during the day, or keep a light on at night when you go to bed. Unfortunately, I’m past this point, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t scare me at some points.

Not one point during the book I had a moment where I had that feel of pages being filled, just for the sake of creating pages (which some books do). From beginning to end it captures you and I hate myself sometimes for having a high reading speed and finishing it in a couple of hours.

The book leaves you hunger for more, but as I said, luckily I can read the English version as well!

Thomas, ik had niet gedacht dat Hex zo ontzettend goed zou zijn. Schrijf meer van dit soort boeken, je hoort thuis in de fantasy wereld en ik kan niet wachten tot een eventuele verfilming en meer van je fantastische verhalen.

This books gets a well-deserved 5 out of 5 star review and I recommend you get your hands on a copy and read it, over and over again, because this is a book you can read multiple times.

Have you read it?

Lots of love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy.

Short book review: A Game of Thrones

Yay! I’ve finished reading a book for the first time in years! I used to read a lot of books, but during my university years I couldn’t find the time for them (except during summer holiday). But now I do have time and I started reading again and I love it! And I want to talk about it.

This is a short and spoiler-free review of A game of Thrones, the first book of the A Song of Ice and Fire saga.

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I’d never though I say this but: I recommend watching the tv-series first. It’s much easier to get into the book that way because it has a lot of different characters and places with difficult names, which are hard to keep track of. The first season of the show is pretty 1 on 1 with the book, but while the show focusses more on politics and shows relatively much violence and sex, the book (while it certainly contains these 3 aspects too) gives us more lore and depth, giving to story a way better fantasy-feel than the show. So if you liked the show and if you love reading, I really recommend reading the book.

That said, the characters and places and lore and history are still a bit hard to keep track of. A Wiki of Ice and Fire was a great help for me, just as this map. The book contains a map, but it lacks a lot of details and it does not contains all the places covered in the book. As for the wiki, when you’ve finished watching all the seasons of the show, you don’t really have to be afraid for spoilers, especially not for the first book (but if you’re a spoilerphobic like me, don’t go looking for stuff form the 4th and 5th book). Reading the lore on the wiki and keeping track of everyone on the map gave more depth to the experience for me.

Have you read a Game of Thrones or seen the show? What did you think of it?

Books, books and more books.

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks. I seriously need more time for writing and blogging and even though with my new job I work 4 hours less than I’m used to, I still seem to be in greeter need of extra time.

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Books, I love books, I have a serious book addiction, which, by the way, I don’t see as a problem. I don’t feel the need to join the book AA. (Hello my name is Mendy and I read too much). In my opinion you can never read too much.

My current collection is somewhere between 700-800 books. All unpacked and in bookcases or on book shelves. I started keeping track of my books during puberty. Not that I had such a large collection back then, but still. I used to have a word document where I first started a list of my books by title and author.

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I lost this list (you know, back then, floppy drives and such).

I started a new list some years later, this time in excel and for a period of time I kept track of my books, sorted by author, title, ISBN and such, all by hand and it was in the time I had about 500-600 books. One freaking big monster project.

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I lost some books, sold some books, donated some books and bought enormous amounts of books (well duh!) But I also bought some books twice, or I wanted to buy a book and not knowing for certain I actually had it already so I left it in the bookstore (I missed out on some great deals thanks to this).

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A couple of nights ago I was thinking about the fact I wanted to make a new list but not insert all the books manually. Since it’s the age of smartphones and apps there must be an app out there where I can keep track of my book collection.

Google can be your best friend and I finally found ‘Book Catalogue’ and app that keeps track of your books, connects them to Goodreads, sends a list to your computer and much, much more. You need a barcode scanner and with both apps adding a book to your list is done within seconds. Both apps are free, yay! At least for android.

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I tested the app with a couple of books (75 so far) and it works like a charm! The app automatically searched for the cover photo, gives a quick summary, tells you everything about to book and you can make different lists and everything. This is so much fun that I can’t wait until the weekend that I can start cataloguing my collection.

Some features in this app, like I said it connects to Goodreads, although I recommend you synchronise with Goodreads before adding books, because I added 75 books, synced it and lost 25 in the process. No clue where they’ve gone.

Another feature, the app lets you add books manually by either ISBN or author and book title. Very handy if the barcode scanner doesn’t read the right code.

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Also handy, if you register with library thing and ask for a key, you can change the book covers which are automatically added to the book.

You can add notes in the edit mode, it automatically counts your books, uploads the stars you gave the book on goodreads, uploads reviews, when you read it etc., let’s you add if the book is signed and much more.

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For me it feels like I have a brand new shiny toy so if I’m done with my crochet order I will be adding books, books and more books!

Until next time, love your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy

Rory Gilmore reading challenge book review: 151.) Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. I finished my mandatory books for January and high on my wanting to read books from the Rory Gilmore reading challenge was the book by Antony Bourdain.

Kitchen Confidential

I have a thing for chefs, cooking, eating and everything. This has to do with the fact I wanted to be a chef when I grew up. Until I was about 13 I had every intention to go to culinary school. Until I found out it was really hard to get into and it just didn’t seem appealing anymore for some reason.

That doesn’t change the fact I still love cooking and baking. During college I even worked as a cook in a Cuban tapas restaurant. It was a very small kitchen. We had a chef, myself and on busy nights a boy for washing the dishes. Along with bar staff and waiters and such. My boyfriend hooked me up with the job as one of the chefs was the bassist in his band. I did mis-en-place, worked the stove, did appetizers, desserts and washing up if needed.

I knew working in a kitchen wasn’t romantic. It’s a tough job, hot, smelly, dirty and a man’s world. You really need to have a thick skin, especially if you are a woman. I mean, the intellectual level of talk in the kitchen is about six feet under and if you aren’t discussing orders or prepping food stuff it basically is all about boobs, dicks and sex. You need to be one of the guys if you want to fit it. You need to be able to lust after the waitresses just as the boys, able to stand in your underwear in order to change into your kitchen uniform in front of the guys and be able to take comments about your ass and boobs. You need to be able to make dirty jokes, talk about booze, wave around heavy and very sharp knives. You need to be able to have your hands and arms splashed by hot oil and not bitch about it. You need to be able handling the bloody finger of your chef before he faints (he looked so pale, but it still gives me the giggles thinking about me fussing and bandaging his finger) You need to be able handling the yelling if you’re not fast enough or screwed up a dish. You need to be able handling the gross stuff in the kitchen (mice droppings and food falling on the ground and being put back into the pan ready for serving). Oh god I really miss it.

I learned a lot during that year and a half I worked there. I know my body now wouldn’t be able to handle it anymore, but reading Anthony Bourdain’s books did bring back so much memories. I enjoyed every minute of it.

The show he has on TV, No Reservations, is really brilliant and I never knew he’d written a book about his culinary adventures growing up and him becoming the chef he is today. I don’t think anything is exaggerated, especially how things in the kitchen go.

If you want to know what goes on inside a kitchen and have a strong stomach, are not afraid of swearing, drug and alcohol abuse and enjoying cooking or knowing more about restaurants, this is the book for you. It’s an easy read, Anthony writes like he talks, a high pace filled with alcohol, smoking and swearing. You will really enjoy this.

He takes you along his youth, what made him passionate about food in the first place, how he ended up working his first job in a restaurant, going to culinary school, his career, ups and downs, his drug abuse (by the way, what I gathered during my time in the kitchen, although I personally didn’t participate, the drugs part is true as well), how he got clean and his act together and pretty much everything else. Until his job at Les Halles, working as the chef.

Have you read this book or other culinary books? Do you enjoy cooking or eating out in restaurants?

Love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy

Rotterdam Book fair!

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks. For a couple of years now I wanted to go to the book fair in Rotterdam, but usually I either just miss it or don’t have enough cash. This time I made sure I didn’t forget and had enough spending money.

So on the last day of the 4 day book fair I went to Rotterdam to go hunt down some books, without really knowing what to expect.

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It was epic! It turned out it was an enormous hall filled with long tables of endless rows of books. No independent market salesmen just everything in one big heap so no haggling on prices or anything. They advertised books were at a maximum of 90% discount and all new!

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Some books were a bit damaged but I don’t mind.

At the entrance you could get a little book trolley to carry all the books around with you. I must say, they had a lot of books. Unfortunately, most of them were in Dutch. Now I don’t mind buying some books in Dutch to get a collection complete, but I do want the majority of my books in English. And I don’t know who was responsible for dividing the books into genres because all the sci-fi and fantasy books were under romance and thriller novels.

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I am very serious about my books. You don’t mix and match, you give them a proper place.

When I entered, one of the first books I saw was the biography of Roald Dahl. Since that book came out it 2010 it has been on my ‘I need this book in my collection and want to read it.’ But the price was very steep. And every time I bought new books I looked at it and still was too expensive. Until now… 5.99 in euros! It was the first book to go in my trolley. And I have already start reading it.

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I browsed the Dutch books and stumbled upon a book from my childhood. It was a series of books and I own just one of them “Tiny is ziek” translated Tiny is sick. For some twisted reason I really loved it. And now I found a second book “Tiny ziet spoken” or Tiny sees ghosts. I had to have it. Yay, second book found. The young adult section had many good books I wanted, but all in Dutch so I let them be. (Be still my crying heart).

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I did however found another Robin Hobb book I didn’t own yet. The second book in a series I already have in Dutch so I added it. Making three books now in my trolley. I loved the trolley and wanted to take it home with me. My own personal book trolley. Can I have it please?

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Finally I stumbled upon the English novels. Because it was just two tables, no genres specified I really had to dig through them to find some gems and I did. I added Dawn of the Dreadfulls, the prequel to pride and prejudice and zombies (epic, epic book) and Android Karenina (really looking forward to reading that one.)

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I also found a cheap vampire novel which looks interesting enough for just 1.99. And I found Wild Thyme beyond, a book that came recommended by Russel T. Davies, so of course it ended up in my book trolley as well.

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The next time the book fair is close by I’m going again, although I won’t wait until the last day. I seriously think I missed out on loads of good books. But I did ok and am really happy about my book haul which ended up costing me 23 euros!

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Do you go to book fairs or book markets? Do you love discount books or always pay full price?

Love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy.

The Rory Gilmore reading challenge: February books:

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. How’s the reading coming along? I finished all January books in time and actually added a fourth book. Yeah I know, I’m crazy. I read:

151.) Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain

 

And it was magnificent! But I will post an update about that book later on.

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For now, the next member in our little group choose the next books to read this month:

121.) Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

210.) Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski.

335.) Wicked: The life and times of the Wicked Witch of the West.

I already started reading Wicked, but I must say I got distracted because I went to a book fair last Sunday and bought a nice stack of books and already started reading one of them. I read multiple books at the same time, as well as some fanfiction mixed in it as well.

For me it’s all about different times a day which I enjoy reading different books. Let’s say travelling to work I’m not fully awake yet so I want some light reading. Before bed I enjoy fanfiction and sometimes there is a book I just need to read asap, like I’m doing with the Roald Dahl biography at the moment.

If you want to join in the reading group. Make sure you’re on Facebook and drop me a line to add you. You can only be added as a person, so no pages.

Love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy